Earlier this month, the Mid Ohio Regional Planning Committee met with Dublin City Council to discuss the future of transportation in Columbus. MORPC is calling this project the Rapid-Speed Transportation Initiative, which aims to improve connectivity between Chicago and Pittsburgh through two transportation technologies: traditional passenger rail and hyperloop.
Passenger rail would be able to transport passengers across the Midwest at speeds as high as 110 mph. Hyperloop would connect Chicago, Fort Wayne, Lima, Marysville, Columbus, and Pittsburgh and use electro-magnetic propulsion to send people through low pressure tubes up to 500 mph. See below for projected Hyperloop rider fares.
In order to get these passenger rail off the ground, MORPC must conduct a preliminary environmental analysis and identify routes. And with Hyperloop, MORPC must first determine the feasibility of this new technology. Beyond that environmental, freight, and economic impacts will be explored.
In addition to presenting several route options for these exciting new forms of transportation, MORPC presenting Dublin the possibility of being a station location. According to the PowerPoint from the meeting, the site for a station must meet the following criteria:
- Local preference
- Former station location
- Tangent track
- Adjacent land use
- Population center
- Access to connecting infrastructure
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While this all sounds well and good, you may be wondering why these projects are being pursued in the first place. MORPC cites the following reasons for exploring other forms of transportation:
- It starts with safety—Last year 1,068 people died on Ohio highways. Ohio needs its highways, but we also need safe, productive alternatives
- Weather, crashes and congestion mean less roadway reliability
- Limited space to build enough lanes for all vehicles, even automated ones
- People are asking for choices
- Like interchanges, stations spur economic development opportunities
Moving forward the MORPC will continue to hold public meetings, facilitate collaboration, and create a travel demand advisory panel of public agencies, academic institution, and Virgin Hyperloop One (the only company in the world to have tested its hyperloop technology at scale) in order to keep the alternative transportation train on the tracks, literally.
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